Love on the Beach Two Ways … Canon 5D Mark IV Image Crop-ability « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Love on the Beach Two Ways ... Canon 5D Mark IV Image Crop-ability

What’s Up?

I will be flying home on what will be a very, very, very long day today crossing back over the International Dateline. I fly from Hokkaido back to Tokyo’s Haneda, take the 2 hour bus ride to Narita, and then fly to MCO via LAX and Phoenix, getting home just before midnight the same day, Monday, 28 FEB! The Narita/LAX leg alone is more than ten hours πŸ™‚

This Just In!

I am in the Admiral’s Club at Tokyo’s Narita Airport. It is 3:41pm Japan time on Tuesday 28 February, and 1:41am in Florida on the same day. My flight from Hokkaido to Tokyo’s Haneda was a breeze as was the bus ride to Tokyo’s Narita. Next will be my flight to LAX that leaves at 5:30 Tokyo time and gets into LAX at 10:25am also on Tuesday 28 February! The it will be on to Phoenix and Orlando arriving just before midnight, still on that same Tuesday! I will talk to y’all soon. a

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 473!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 473 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

This image was created at The Neck on Saunders Island, The Falklands with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering probably at zero as originally famed: 1/1600 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

Two AF points below the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the male’s breast. Click on the image to see a larger version.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: -12.

Brown-hooded Gull pair copulating

Brown-hooded Gull

I first saw and photographed this gorgeous gull species on a 2016 visit to Bleaker Island. The pink breast blew me away. I got one OK photo, but most were not very good πŸ™

On our first visit to The Neck at Saunders Island this December we walked down to the beach and quickly found about a dozen brown-hoodeds on a sunny afternoon. In retrospect I wished that I had not been lazy and had taken the 500 II on the tripod but things worked out just fine as I got some good portraits with the 400 DO II/2X III combination along with a series of very nice action images. The one featured in today’s blog post was my favorite by far.

Image Question

What do you think of the shadow of the birds?

This JPEG represents the converted TIFF

The Image Optimization

Conversion in DPP 4; see the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide (by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly). Crop. My NIK Color Efex Pro 25/25 recipe on the birds only. Extensive beach clean-up with the usual cast of characters: Patch Tool, Spot Healing Brush, Clone Stamp Tool. Most of the gulls were removed with the Divide and Conquer (with the Clone Stamp Tool) followed by Patch Tool work. The young Dolphin Gull that merged with the male’s far wing, was covered with a Quick Mask that was then refined with a Regular Layer Mask using a technique that I call Protective Quick Masking on a Layer. This technique work great when eliminating two birds that have merged. After all of the clean up I ran a 65 pixel Gaussian Blur on the water at the top of the frame. Lastly, high level NeatImage noise reduction with less on the birds than on the beach using the techniques detailed in the The Professional Post Processing Guide (by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly).

Everything above (but for Protective Quick Masking on a Layer–see the free tutorial below) plus tons more is detailed in the Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete (former PC) digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, the basics of Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. You can learn to apply Neat Image noise reduction in The Professional Photographers Guide to Post Processing.

I am working on an all-new Current Workflow e-guide that better reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. It will include a section on ACR conversions and a simplified method of applying Neat Image noise reduction.

Protective Quick Masking on a Layer

First create a Quick Mask of the sand beach to cover the offending gull. Be sure to make the Quick Mask large enough so that it completely covers the bird you wish to eliminate. Use the Move Tool (V) to cover the unwanted gull. Then add Regular Layer Mask. Hit BDX and begin erasing the mask where it covers the far end of the subject’s wing. Work large while toggling between revealing and hiding to fine tune the edges of the wing feathers. With a bit of practice, you will soon by getting perfect results.

Canon 5D Mark IV Image Crop-ability

This 5D Mark IV Image was (coincidentally) cropped to approximate a 7D Mark II image created from the same spot with the same gear. The image quality is superb.

Image Optimization Question

Did the optimization of today’s featured image go too far for you? Is the resulting image too perfect?


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT
Monday July 3 through Monday July 10, 2017: $5999: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 6). Two great leaders: Arthur Morris and BPN co-owner, BPN Photography Gear Forum Moderator, and long-time BAA Webmaster Peter Kes.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of three gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.

If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12. (We may opt to stay in Edinburgh on the night of July 11.) Price and details should be finalized at least six months before the trip but you will need to be a bit patient. It would be ideal if I can get all the work done by the end of September so that folks can arrange their flights then.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.

Deposit Info

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to β€œArthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store πŸ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

15 comments to Love on the Beach Two Ways … Canon 5D Mark IV Image Crop-ability

  • avatar Jack D Waller

    Looking forward to your comments!

    I am nearly going nuts with my 1DX2 and 400 DO II with 2X III. The focus is inconsistent and I thought I had it AFMA’d only to find that it can’t possibly be. I’ve gone through this repeatedly with AI servo, and one-shot, higher shutter speeds, thinking shake but to no avail. A large sample suggested +9, then another attempt +4 and today it seems it might even be slightly negative. Some live view shots today appeared to be slightly back focused so I’m just about ready to …..


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Try making 30 images all at +7 and running AFC-5 Auto-Focus consistency. Send me the resulting graph. LA/FT MAs with the 2X TCs are the most challenging for many reasons.


      ps: all tests should be done using JPEG πŸ™‚

  • avatar Dave Schneider

    Hello, not sure if this belongs here or not, but here goes. I have a 1dmk4 and a 5dmk4. Which would you recommend for my bird photography, and why? Which focuses faster, for flight shots? I like the speed of the 1dmk4,fps. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Also thanks for all the great info you give on here. Dave Schneider

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Dave,

      Assuming that you did not mis-type and have both an EOS-1D Mark IV and an EOS-5D Mark IV the choice for birds is for me a no brainer. I believe that the AF system of the 5D IV is superior to that of the 1D Mark IV. And the image quality is much better as well. The only rival to the 5D IV are the two 1D X bodies, especially the blazingly fast 1D X Mark II. I went to Japan expecting to use my 1D X II only rarely. Stay tuned for a few days to see what actually happened. Many 1D X Mark II bodies do however have some serious problems. Again, stay tuned.

      Thanks for your kind words about the blog. Did you remember to use my B&H link to purchase your 5D Mark IV? It is the best way to thank me for the work that I do on the blog and the time that I spend answering questions and e-mails like yours πŸ™‚


  • Beautiful Images. As an artist you get the choice and freedom to express yourself.

    I like both the images. The fact that you shared both images is really great…

    Thank you for the awesome educational posts.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You are most welcome Krishna. I am looking forward to meeting and working with you on the Gatorland Mini IPT soon!


  • avatar Glen Fox

    Thank you for introducing me/us to “protective masking on a layer”. I can see many uses for that. I’m also grateful for your drawing my attention to the pinkish coloration on the breast of
    the Brown-hooded Gulls. I photographed them at the same location in late November and didn’t really notice it or attributed it to a reflection from their legs and feet, but now see that it is a coloration not a reflection. Gorgeous birds as are the Dolphin Gulls.

  • Artists can put in or take out what they like so why can’t Professional Photographers like Artie. Any way it has be come a art form, and to do it properly requires great skill and should be embraced.



  • avatar pk

    For me, the background in image #1 is too flat. Much prefer the texture and variation in tones of image #2 giving a nuanced natural look. The Oof bird directly behind wing of the male surely needs work, and that was done beautifully, but appreciate the depth that background water and other birds give to photo.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. A freshly wave swept beach can look immaculate at times πŸ™‚


  • avatar Tony Botelho

    I know that you are being up front in what you have done and not trying to deceive people, but I feel that it is over the top. When I look at photos these days I don’t get the same excitement that drew me into photography many years ago. I no longer know what is real, or is it the way it looks because someone is good with photoshop or some other software program. I’m not against a minor adjustment but to change the scene this much in my opinion is going too far.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. Do know that the birds were copulating πŸ™‚


      ps: BTW, who gets to draw the line?

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Welcome home!
    Image #1 blew me away when I opened this blog. It’s so sharp, clean, clear, beautiful.
    The colors are just great! Is the optimization too much? Maybe. But I really love this image. It has no distractions and draws focus to the birds. Very intimate, yet it’s not a typical intimate close-up.
    Might also be nice if you left in the background birds at the water’s edge, as well as some of the foot traffic in the sand to the right of the copulating pair.

    Beautiful shot !

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks girl Kerry. I am delayed at LAX πŸ™‚

      Might get home earlier but possibly without my checked bags …
      later and love, a